All “Inspiration” Posts

Advent

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Advent at Imago is the best. Already looking forward to next year.

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Best Rendition of the Best Story Ever…

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Have a very merry Christmas, my friends. I hope filled with lots of gratitude, hope, and celebrating. And maybe even some glow sticks.

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A Christmas Party

We went to a Christmas party last night. And got dressed up…

My husband wore a tie and I wore heels. And that my friends deserves all the spiked eggnog in the world.

Some peppermint bark will do though.

Love me some sparkly holiday nails

The second actual piece of maternity clothing I’ve purchased this whole pregnancy. Worth. Every. Penny. Other than the heels part, I’ve never felt more comfortable at a fancy holiday party.

Black lacy dress- {link url="http://us.asos.com/ASOS-MATERNITY-Lace-Dress/rwkd9/?iid=614223&cid=5813&sh=0&pge=0&pgesize=20&sort=-1&clr=Black&mporgp=L0FTT1MvQVNPUy1NQVRFUk5JVFktTGFjZS1EcmVzcy9Qcm9kLw.."}asos{/link}

Can’t wait for next Christmas when this babes is on the outside.

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Christmas Card, 2011

We went to beautiful, snowy Mt. Hood this weekend with some friends and decided it was much too perfect of a setting to pass up snapping a few photos for our Christmas card this year. Yes, we realize we are cutting it WAY too close. Christmas really crept up on us this year. I mean really, can you believe it’s in 6 DAYS?! Nuts.

And the winner is…

Coat and hat- Anthropologie, Beige Sweater- Target, Black leggings- American Apparel, Green Wellington boots and boot socks- Hunter

Expect this in your mailbox after Christmas sometime. Fashionably late, right? It’s how us Christophers like to roll.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

There she shines…

Old slides found at a crafters HEAVEN. Thought they’d make for some very fine DIY ornaments this year. The inspiration came from Anthropologie’s holiday window display. Check it out if you haven’t already. AMAZING…per usual.

Mmmm. Oranges and cloves. Make my house smell like Christmas.

Festive treats on the coffee table…

Stockings hung…

The Christophers are ready for Christmas!

Now D just needs to get back from his trip to enjoy it all with me. Not the same without him. Sigh, 6 and a half more days never sounded so long.

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Conspiring. 2011 style.

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Here is the updated Advent Conspiracy Promo from 2008.

I can’t believe I get to be apart of the kind community that starts stuff like this. I have to pinch myself sometimes.

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And Let the Holidays Begin…

My husband’s birthday kicked off the holiday week. I surprised him with a dinner party featuring homemade sushi, individual, seasonal pies from Pie Spot, friends, and lots of sake. I think he felt mighty celebrated.

Below was my very own concoction. I called it “Spicy Birthday Surprise.” Tempura shrimp, spicy mayo sauce, cream cheese, and strips of jalapeno. Apparently I’m better at creating sushi rolls than naming them.

Next up on the crazy schedule was decorating for the Advent season at my church, Imago Dei Community. I partnered with the amazing Karyn Thurston, who was responsible for the dream of this killer pallet wood wall.

The whole shebang…Minus the Christmas tree.

Communion Tables…

Needless to say, it was an honor to be apart of the challenge and joy of making our sanctuary a beautiful place and experience where people would be drawn into the story of Christ this season.

Then it was on to massive amounts of baking and cooking…

Bourbon Pecan Pie. ‘Nuff said.

Yep. We were responsible for this 22 lb. beast this year.

The Spread

Baked Alaska for Daniel and his Dad’s birthday. My mother-in-law is PHENOMENAL with the sweets.

Double-decker Pumpkin cheesecake. Brother-in-law wins big time for this. We’ve been eating it all weekend.

Off to a hike in the Gorge with the husband and my Dad to work off everything you just saw.

And what better way to end the thanksgiving week than with a trip to the Christmas tree farm…

Daniel feeling awkward. Poor boy didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas. I’m working on him. Next years picture is gonna blow this one out of the water.

And this, my friends, is a picture of a pro-Christmas tree picture taker. And a 30 week pregnant belly (I can hardly believe it…10-ish weeks and we get to meet this sweet little person!).

Chunky sweater- vintage, chambray button down- h&m, Skinny jeans- Gap maternity (they're AMAZING), scarf- Pendelton via Anthropologie, Frye boots

It’s clearly been eventful around here and SO blessed. Much to be thankful for indeed. I’m beside myself.

I hope your holidays are off to a very blessed start too.

p.s. Thanks for being patient with me and my lack of posts this last week. Be prepared for an onslaught of posts in the upcoming weeks that have been brewing in my mind to make up for it.

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Life Lately According to My iPhone…

Between re-doing/organizing our apartment to make room for our little babes and decorating for Advent I think Ikea has officially become my second home.

I did it. I bought my big preggo self a nice, roomy winter coat.

Even though there has been a seriously lack of recipe posts on here (I will make up for it, promise), I have been a cooking machine. I can’t help myself this time of year. The best foods are to be had in fall. Like this meal I made a few weeks ago…

Maple apple pork chops, with collard greens and cheesy bacon grits. Oh, mamma, was it goooood.

On top of all the awesome food to be had this season, there’s the flowers. Gah, aren’t fall flowers the loveliest?

Some sparkly pumpkins I made (like a month ago—oops) to make our home a little more festive. Super easy too. Those are just gold push pins. Stick ‘em in your choice of pumpkin or squash and call it good.

Saturday morning crepes, made by the husband. What I look forward to all week.

I’ve officially entered the THIRD TRIMESTER, friends. I can hardly believe it.

But I think my pants sure can. Don’t worry I finally bit the bullet and ordered some honest-to-goodness maternity pants.

There’s been lots of DIY-ing going on around here too. Again, thanks to our little muffin and Advent/DIY fair time (p.s. my brilliant husband designed the DIY fair logo).

Vintage Tin Candles. Easy + cute = a beautiful thing.

One of the best holiday treats, in my humble opinion. The infamous Muddy Buddies.

More yummy foods to be enjoyed when it’s cold outside. Chicken Cacciatore amazingness.

Overall I’d say life as-of-late has been insane and full, but so, so blessed.

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A Few Fall/Holiday Cocktails

First up…

Whiskey Cider

Photo and recipe via Design Sponge

Ingredients

Makes 3 servings

  • 3 cups of apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 shots (a bit more than half a cup) of Irish Whiskey
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

Methodology

Heat apple juice and spices in a pot on the stove. Once hot (close to boiling), remove from heat, give the juice a stir and let the spices infuse. The spices may appear to be clumping at the start, but after cooling for 5 minutes, they will settle to the bottom of the mix. Add whiskey and reheat to serve. Sliced apples make a beautiful garnish to polish off this cocktail. (Tip: To keep sliced apples from browning, coat them with a little bit of lemon or lime juice.)

Next up,  a new recipe I found that you MUST try for me. I’m living vicariously through all of you right now anyway. It’s based on one of my favorite drinks and fruits…

The Fig Old-Fashioned

Photos and recipe via The Kitchn

Ingredients

Makes 1 cocktail

  • 1 California black mission fig
  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon
  • 1/2 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 oz maple syrup (Grade B, if you can find it)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Methodology

Remove the stem from the fig and cut it into quarters. Place the fig pieces in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add the maple syrup and muddle into a paste. Add the bourbon, orange juice, and balsamic vinegar (that’s right, balsamic vinegar), and fill the glass with ice. Shake and double strain into an old-fashioned glass with ice. (To double strain, just pour from the shaker through a tea strainer. Double straining will keep you from finding little bits of fig pulp and seeds in your drink. If you have a choice, pick a tea strainer with a somewhat coarser mesh; this will make the straining process go a bit faster.) And voila! Amazing fall drink ready to be enjoyed.

The infamous…

Hot Buttered Rum

Recipe via Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch salt
  • Bottle dark rum
  • Boiling water

Methodology

In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Refrigerate until almost firm. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture into 12 small mugs. Pour about 3 ounces of rum into each mug (filling about halfway). Top with boiling water (to fill the remaining half), stir well, and serve immediately.

And last, but not least, my personal favorite…

Mulled Wine

Photo and recipe via Andrea

Ingredients

Makes 6 servings

25 ounces red wine (zinfandel or merlot)
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg, cracked open (or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
1 orange, peeled in wide strips
1 lemon, peeled in wide strips
1 orange, thinly sliced (for garnish)

Methodology

Combine the wine, water, sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and lemon and orange strips in the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 20 minutes, then serve hot in mugs with slices of orange.

 

P.S. Another favorite fall cocktail of mine: The Maple Sour. It was in a spring cocktail post, even though it’s not at all a spring cocktail. That’s how much I love it.

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Anniversarymoon….Or Babymoon? (Part 1)

Well, it is (finally!) here, folks….Our trip to Belize! We spent 12 days in this beautiful (and I mean beautiful) country for our 1 year anniversary which I guess turned out to be a babymoon too. I always love two for one deals. The trip was amazing, relaxing, and just what we needed. I loved living in the remote mountains of Belize for a solid 5 days, going on adventures in old Mayan ruins, canoeing through ancient caves, lounging by the pool and beach, floating in the pool {weightlessness at last!}, snorkeling (the Caribbean is where it’s at as far as snorkeling goes), reading in our hammock, popping into town to soak up some wonderful Belizean culture and food, getting tea brought to our room first thing in the morning, and the best part was having my husband all to myself—uninterrupted! Needless to say, it’s been kind of a rough transition back to normal life.

Since we took a massive amount of pictures I thought I’d break it up into two posts. So this first post will focus on the first half of our trip—spent in the beautiful, wonderfully remote mountains of Belize.

Ready?

Well for starters one must always begin with the food…

Our first Belizean meal. To. die. for. No one makes rice and beans like these people do. Thank goodness I can at least find a good taco in this town.

The infamous beer of choice there, the Belikin.

The last leg of our trip to our fist destination. The looooooooooong and very bumpy road (I think 20 miles) to our lovely, remote mountain getaway.

The view from the main lodge/restaurant

Our Cabana

The first of many virgin pina coladas…

What we came home to every night. The service and treatment we got at this place was exceptional. Really, I highly recommend.

The resort even had horses! Except I didn’t ride any because everyone there had a paranoia of the pregnant lady doing anything other than eating and laying by the pool.

Gorgeous views everywhere

Since the resort is so remote they grow all of the restaurants food in their organic orchards and gardens. Including these grapefruits…

And all of these lovely tropical fruits. That we shamelessly ordered every morning….

Fry Jacks, a common local breakfast food. They were like elephant ears without the cinnamon and sugar. We loved them. Daniel’s begging me to find a recipe and make them.

Pool time!

It was rough…

So rough…

Yes, my husband caught the sickness that is the Hunger Games…

A little river ran by the resort and our cabana. We marveled at how warm it was!

And how gorgeous it was.

The little hut on the river where we had a private dinner to celebrate our anniversary.

Forgive the poor quality…It was super dark.

I love this man…

(It has been the best year of my life, lover. Hands down).

Anniversary presents!

And, yes, my husband hand drew that A…

I made him a book, using the amazing Pinhole Press, of pictures from our 1st year of marriage.

So turtles are the thing you have to watch out for when driving in Belize…

The massive Mayan city and ruins we saw and climbed. Yes, this pregnant lady climbed all 143 feet of that. Boom.

The Rio Frio. Even though they were the warmest pools ever. As you can see below Daniel was a little excited about warm rivers. I swear he was born in the wrong part of the world.

The national park where we explored thousand year old Barton Creek Mayan Cave. There were pots and human skeletal  remains still in there!

On the canoe about to enter the cave!

The formations were breathtaking. Pictures don’t do them justice.

More of that beautiful river I miss so much…

And last, but certainly not least, our least favorite part of Belize…

I’m not gonna lie, the bugs (like everything else there) were hardcore.

But, as you can see, it was worth every morning of lathering ourselves in that damn bug repellant.

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